British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
International Contacts, Annual Congress Tours, Professional Development, Writing & Photo Awards, Freelance Directory
Members of the Guild are also members of...

BGAJ eAlert Extra - May 2013

Guild Photography Award - deadline is here!

Reintroduced by popular demand - so please put in at least one entry to support  this award - the photography competition comprises two categories - Livestock (sponsored by JG Animal Health) and Arable (sponsored by Safagrow). Members can enter one image per category by emailing them with a note of when and where they were published (in print or online within 12 months of April 1, 2012) to awards secretary Louise Impey. Click here for details.

Guild Training Award - deadline Friday, May 24

The Guild's unique John Deere Training Award course is available to young adults who aspire to become journalists or commercial communicators or have been employed in these roles for less than 12 months. The three-day course (plus three days' work experience) provides practical training and helps bring new blood into the industry. Details here or from Steve Mitchell, ASM PR.

IFAJ/Agriterra Uganda Tour - deadline Friday, May 31

Explore Uganda dairy, fruit, vegetable, coffee, tobacco and fish production in November 2013 as one of just 15 journalists on this exclusive media tour arranged by the IFAJ and agricultural development agency Agriterra. Guild Member Chris McCullough reported his experiences during last year's tour to Kenya on the Guild website. Full details of the Uganda trip are available here; scroll down to 'Africa study tour' story.

Fundraising? Remember your Guild’s Charitable Trust

Are you planning a marathon, a bake-athon or a team 24-hour Three Peak Challenge? If you are, how about adding the Guild’s Charitable Trust to your causes?

“The Charitable Trust is very much a part of the Guild; it was established to help and support Members, as well as their families, when facing financial, health or other difficulties,” says Guild chairman Jane Craigie.

Chaired by Stephen Howe, the Trustees, do a crucial job in providing confidential, practical and moral support to Members present and past in need. As part of their role they manage a capital fund that can be used to buy services, specialist equipment or help to pay utility and other essential bills.

“The demands placed on the Charitable Trust’s funds have increased in recent years and it would be great if we could all think of it when it comes to charitable donations or fund-raising activities,” adds Jane. “It is a support that's there for any one of us should we ever need it.”

To find out how Members and Friends of the Guild can help, see the Charitable Trust pages of the website or contact the chairman of Trustees, Stephen Howe.

Chairman's Blog gets underway

Guild chairman Jane Craigie has started blogging about the many and varied activities in which she is involved - not least, preparations for IFAJ Congress 2014 in north-east Scotland next September. Her latest blogs describe visits to three of the Congress media tour destinations - Mackies, the Glenlivet Estate and Ballindalloch, a Highlands estate with the World's oldest Aberdeen-Angus herd. Follow Jane's stories here.

Bangers 'n' Beer at the Cereals Event

The popular reception for Members and Friends of the Guild attending the Cereals Event will include the first-time presentation of the Guild's new journalism award sponsored by IAgrE, the Institution of Agricultural Engineers.

The event will run from 5pm to 6.30pm in the arable conference marquee close to the press tent thanks to Haymarket Events. It is free to Members and Friends; guests may attend for £10, which will be refunded to guests who sign up to the Guild.

Additional sponsorship this year means no-one should leave the reception hungry or thirsty! The premium bangers and other refreshments are sponsored by Bayer CropScience and beer will come from Limagrain. Vegetable snacks will be available for the first time thanks to the Processors & Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) and British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA); and Gleadell, the international grain, seed and fertiliser merchant, is again providing a generous supply of strawberries and cream.

These events do not run themselves, of course, so offers from Members and Friends to help set up from 4.30pm will be well received - contact Cereals Event press officer Robert Harris. Press ticket registration (for journalists only) is now open on the event website.

Guild visit to BBC Bristol rural affairs broadcasters

There was a good turnout for the Midlands branch-organised visit to BBC Bristol, where the rural programming team is now based. The visit was acknowledged in Farming Today’s Twitter feed: Great to get a visit from UK Guild of Agricultural Journalists #gaj at BBC Bristol tonight. Thanks for all the questions, guys.

Pictured above are (from left) BBC Rural Affairs Editor, Jeremy Hayes, with Countryfile series producer, Teresa Bogan and Countryfile producer, Matt Gull. Below, Guild members visit one of the studios at the BBC farming team’s new Whiteladies Road, Bristol head office. (photo: Kevin Milner).

How well is farming regarded by the public?

According to articles in the latest edition of IFAJ News, the Swiss have a high regard for their farming sector. But agriculture enjoys a much less favourable public view in the Netherlands, where almost all negative side-effects of modern day farming are reportedly brought to the surface by non-agricultural organisations and by non-agricultural journalists. There are imlpications for agricultural journalists in both cases. Read the full story here.

Jobs & Recruitment

Vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts as a service to members but a recruitment advertising service is also available to organisations that wish to put full details about a post in front of the Guild's 430+ Members involved in journalism and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

Year Book updates

Update the Guild Year Book with the new job, location and contact details noted here, as well as any new Members and Friends listed below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website.

Aly Balsom has left her post as livestock deputy editor on Farmers Weekly to work as a freelance from Bradford on Avon in Wiltshre. She can be contacted on 07912 344219, by Email or via her website.

Sarah Palmer has joined Whisper PR as business manager. She can be contacted by 'phone (01608 637807) or her new Email address.

Howard Walsh has retired from his full-time role at Farmers Guardian and is now freelancing from home, notably on business, livestock (beef, sheep, dairy), and machinery topics. He has a new email address but his mobile telephone number remains as published in the Year Book.

New Members and Friends

Members and Friends who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild or becoming a Friend can direct them to a webpage with more details or put them in contact with membership secretary Liz Snaith.

In News on the Guild website

Aly Balsom goes freelance

Urgent HELP! for PR projects

New Member: Philippa Spackman

New Member: Michael Priestley

Howard Walsh retires from FG

Sarah Palmer joins

New Friend: Simon Haley

The Scottish Farmer celebrates 120 years

Derek Watson

More publications move online

New Friend - John Evans

Nuffield Scholarships - July 31 deadline

Agri-science has a vital role - George Freeman, MP

Send in your news

Please send any career news, publication/website launches or redesigns, agency appointments, award wins and campaigns, etc, to website and eAlerts editor Peter Hill.

Guild Contacts

Contact the Guild secretary, Nikki Robertson, if you wish to apply for Retired Member status to pay the reduced subscription; as a Friend who now qualifies, to apply to become a Member of the Guild and enjoy additional benefits; or to notify resignation from the Guild.



Johann Tasker

01206 263807


Join Us!

Click here to view Guild membership benefits and to find out how to join.

Guild News

Click here for the latest news.